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Tag: Saxophone Lessons

This Is Probably The Most Useful Scale In Jazz Improvisation

This Is Probably The Most Useful Scale In Jazz Improvisation

Scales are the “raw material” of melody, whether improvised or composed. It’s not likely that you’ll study jazz improvisation to any serious degree without spending a lot of time learning, exploring and creating melodies with scalar material (as well as understanding how these scales relate to harmony). In modern jazz improvisation, many different scale colors […]

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10 Essential Ballads That Every Saxophonist Should Know

10 Essential Ballads That Every Saxophonist Should Know

How many times has it happened that you tell somebody that you play the saxophone, and the first thing that they say, with a glint in their eyes is, “Oh, I love the saxophone…” Now, I hate to say it, but they probably aren’t thinking of Bird’s burning solo on Donna Lee, Coltrane’s “sheets of […]

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Why Knowing All Of Your Scales Is Not The Same As Knowing All Of Your Keys

Why Knowing All Of Your Scales Is Not The Same As Knowing All Of Your Keys

When teaching, I’m often struck by how many students can play all their major scales but have little actual understanding of the keys that they play in and how their related key signatures are constructed. Having an understanding of key signatures will greatly improve your reading and general music literacy, which will set you loose […]

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One Of The Quickest Ways To Get You Flying Through All Twelve Keys

One Of The Quickest Ways To Get You Flying Through All Twelve Keys

  Professional classical musicians seem to be able to memorize impossibly complicated solo works, orchestral excerpts, and other pieces in a short amount of time and with remarkable recall and precision. Similarly, professional jazz musicians know hundreds of tunes and seem to be able to play back almost anything they hear – in any key […]

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How To Keep Your Solos Fresh Using Lower Neighbor Tones

How To Keep Your Solos Fresh Using Lower Neighbor Tones

One of the most basic and important truths of improvising is that no matter what note you play, you’re never more than a half-step away from the “right” note. Besides being a comforting thing to know, this truth might actually help you get out of a musical jam, and could also help you expand your […]

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These Fun Technical Exercises Will Prepare You For Just About Anything

These Fun Technical Exercises Will Prepare You For Just About Anything

Technical Exercises in all Keys All players should organize their practice, but that structure should also leave a lot of room for variety and creativity. For most of my students, I recommend they practice in one key every week with a combination of scales and arpeggios, plus some kind of technical exercise that resembles the […]

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The Saxophonist's Guide To The Dreaded Art Of Transposition

The Saxophonist’s Guide To The Dreaded Art Of Transposition

I’m sure many of you remember that first time you sat down to play some sheet music with somebody playing another instrument, and most likely had that crazy realization that you might be reading the same note on the page, but different notes are coming out of your instruments! Maybe you showed up to band […]

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Bb fingerings

A Guide to Finally Figuring Out Which Bb Fingering To Use

I would say we’re pretty lucky to play an instrument with one of the most basic and straightforward fingering systems of any wind instrument. Merci, Adolphe Sax! Choices, Choices… For most of the notes on our horn, there’s pretty much one fingering, and when there is an alternate fingering it tends to be a pretty […]

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